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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
U
Cast
Zac Efron
Danny DeVito
Ed Helms
Betty White.
Directors
Chris Renaud.
Screenwriters
Ken Daurio.
Running Time
86 minutes

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Dr Seuss' The Lorax
Makes Shrek look like Ken Loach


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Plot
Ted (Efron) lives in a town entirely made of plastic, but the girl he adores longs to see one of the trees that once covered the land. In his quest to find her a tree Ted learns the story of The Lorax (DeVito), guardian of the trees, and how man destroyed his own paradise.


Review
Dr Seuss' The Lorax
The Lorax has unevenly weighted hands. In one hand it has a cute story of a boy trying to impress a girl by giving her the one simple thing she desires above all else. In the other it has a self-important environmental message about being nice to trees, not being seduced by mass consumerism and fearing the wrath of a magical hamster thing with Wilford Brimley’s facial hair. The former hand gives the viewer the occasional gentle tickle of amusement, while the latter beats you about the head and neck with the blunt force of its own strident environmentalist morality. This beating is a little hard to take from a film distributed in a 3D format that requires disposable plastic glasses.

Dr. Seuss’ 1971 story has had a bit of an expansion for this movie. At its core it is still about a boy (Zac Efron) who visits a strange being called the Once-ler (Ed Helms) to discover why the land is bare and sad, and is told about the time the Once-ler chopped down all the trees for his own financial gain and incurred the fury of tiny tree spokesperson The Lorax (DeVito). Because that story fills about 20 minutes, we now also have a love interest, a big-business villain who has obliterated anything natural to make a whole town so artificial that he can sell the residents fresh air, and Betty White as a snowboarding granny. We also get some songs, which you forget even as they’re happening. Visually, this is all gorgeous, sherbert-coloured and swirly, with Seuss’ scratchy lines softened but not lost. As a story, however, it’s disjointed, too heavy on message and too light on humour.

Curiously, it’s the parts that are faithful to Seuss that are least entertaining. The Once-ler, who was never fully revealed in the book, is depicted in an enjoyably sinister way that should spook kids without terrifying them, but the scenes in which The Lorax tries to teach him the error of his ways are rather dry, no matter how many clumsy woodland critters are piled in. The Lorax is a terribly preachy little creature; the trees would have done better to choose a spokesperson who wasn’t quite such a pill. The invented story, however, is freer and has more time for jokes for the sake of jokes. It’s a shame, then, that it’s given far less time, even to the point that the love story gets no firm resolution. The filmmakers’ focus seems to be, wrongly, on delivering the message. Who wants a sermon with a side of sight gags?


Verdict
Lovely to look at and with some fun material not of Seuss’ invention, but it’s too hectoring, like reading an environmental textbook with jolly pictures.


Reviewed by Olly Richards

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Dr Seuss' The Lorax
Empire Star Rating

Deliciously anti-consumerist!

As a Leftie and person concerned about the environment I sat through this with barely disguised glee! I can well understand some people feeling preached to with a film like this but I felt the message was a very important one to children. Some of the cynicism about consumerism is delightful. For instance, the advertising campaign for fresh air in a plastic bottle and the bastardisation of the recycling sign showing smoky factories and choking citizens. I actually wish it had gone even furth... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by filmsunlimited at 09:02, 04 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Dr Seuss' Lorax

The Lorax Based lyy on the Dr Seuss story of the same name and as usual with Hollywood they have fudged it all up. The story is an environmental one, an eco plot if you will about the effects of cutting down trees. Put simply (just like the original book did) there is a small town which is gloomy and polluted. The reason for this is because all the trees were chopped down to mass market 'thneeds' by the one they call 'Once-ler'. 'Once-ler' tells a young boy the whole story of how he d... More

Posted by Phubbs at 04:27, 01 August 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Dr Seuss' Lorax

Ted Wiggins, an idealistic 12-year-old boy, lives in "Thneed-Ville", a walled city that, aside from the citizens, is completely, perfectly, artificial: everything is made of plastic, metal, or synthetics. Ted sets out to find the one thing that will win him the affection of Audrey, the girl of his dreams, who wishes to see a real tree . Ted's energetic grandmother suggests he speak with the Once-ler on the matter, and he discovers that their city has been closed off from the outside world, whic... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dr Lenera at 20:45, 31 July 2012 | Report This Post


Dr Seuss' Lorax

It's funny and enjoyable, yes. But completely misses the point of the book, and I felt it kind of ended up trying to be like WALL-E. Or like an environmental doctrine for kids. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nc_jj at 05:01, 28 July 2012 | Report This Post


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